He remembers to say ‘I love you’

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Everyday around 3:30pm I get a call. It is my dad checking in with me. When he calls, he always says something to the effect of, “I am just checking in with our leader, number 1” (I am the eldest of three daughters). He then proceeds to tell me about his daily activities, some are real, some are not but are real to him, and how blessed he is. He remembers that my mom returned to be with God but I am not sure how clearly the funeral or her sickness are inside of his thoughts. He always ends our conversations with his appreciation for how my sisters and I are taking care of the old man. What makes these conversations so special is that I will get another call shortly after this one sharing with me the same information. My dad not remembering that he had just spoken to me. My father has short term memory loss.

My dad has always been a kind gentleman, filled with humility and grace. He has always been a servant, willing to help anyone. My dad has never met a stranger. So, today although he loses track of actions in the present moment, he has maintained a pleasantness. I am praying that he can hold on to this for a longtime. Rest assured, he is at peace with his memory. He always shares that for a man of eighty plus, he is doing good. His doctor says so too.

“Live a good honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.” Dalai Lama

I am writing the Thanksgiving blog to share with others the special relationship that I have with my dad. And for the record, it is not a burden but an honor to have taken care of my mom and now dad. As my once young vibrant father settles into being a weaker more frail octogenarian, I am thankful that I am here to share these moments and to experience the circle of life with him. I see life differently because of these experiences. I recognize that what I fill my day with will soon become the backdrop of my future thoughts and memories. Needless to say, I am making better choices now.

If you ask me is it important for my dad to remember me? The answer of course is, yes! But I know without question that my memories are just as important. I am thankful that despite all that my dad forgets, he still remembers to call me to say, ‘I love you’. Have a Happy Thanksgiving Season!

Holy Week Relections

Now that Holy Week is over, I miss it! Some of the most beautiful experiences that I have as a Christian happen during Holy Week.   When I was the pastor of the St Mary of Magada Cathedral in Fresno, CA,  it was an event filled week full of activities that reconnected us to the faith & strengthened our bonds as a community.  

Maundy Thursday – This commemorates the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples. This coincided with the Jewish festival of Passover. Churches mark this day in various ways, including communal meals, foot washing ceremonies and bell ringing.
Good Friday – This commemorates the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and consequent death. This is the most solemn and perhaps most important day of Holy Week, with some churches observing forms of mourning practices.
Holy Saturday – This day is used to remember Jesus’ burial. This is a day for solemn reflection. Sometimes an Easter vigil may be held on Holy Saturday, while some may fast.

Pascha or Easter Sunday-The faithful recognize the resurrection. Christ is risen! Risen indeed!

I enjoy the majesty of this week. It was designed to awe the participant but with the simply symbolism. We would have the church adorned in Palms for Palm Sunday then we would strip it down on Maundy Thursday after the foot washing, draping everything in black. Anything displaying life would be covered in black linen. This powerful symbolism that Christ’s light has gone out if the world. Then we would return to church God Friday and read through the stations of the cross. Saturday morning we arrived at church early to clean everything including the altar. We would adorn everything in white and gold. Lilies would be everywhere. When the congregation arrived we would be outside. The Paschal candle would be lit the everyone else would share as the light went from candle to candle symbolizing Christ is the light of the world . We would begin singing “Alive, alive, my Jesus is alive, alive forever more 2x, alive, alive my Jesus is alive, my Jesus is alive forever more. Sing Hallelujah 2x, my Jesus is alive 2x. Sing Hallelujah 2x, my Jesus is alive forever more”. Into the church we would dance and sing. Saying, “Christ is risen”. The response is “He is risen indeed”.

Oh, and I left out the food. The bountiful vegetarian community meals we shared all week. But after the Saturday service, there was a room filled with dishes. Every possible dish including lamb.

The Easter season hopefully reignites the purpose for belief in Jesus Christ found in for God so loved the world. Love demonstrates the extreme measures that God went through to give us the opportunity to live in heaven, a place of peace. When we are loving we preserve the purpose of the season. Easter is about love that saved the world.